A condo conversion of the “Evelyn” building at 101 West 78th street was halted by a judge to allow Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the owners for fraud, according to DNAinfo.
Schneiderman says Newcastle Realty Services initially said that the 44-unit building would be converted to 43 condo apartments without any construction, but that they later filed plans to do major construction that would create 23 larger apartments. Only about 10 tenants remain in the building; Newcastle bought it in 2012 for $85 million, Schneiderman said.
The development company, led by Margaret Streicker Porres, also pushed tenants to accept buyout offers before they’d had sufficient time to review the conversion plan and did not offer them the chance to buy their apartments, which is illegal, Schneiderman said in a statement.
Newcastle also did not let Schneiderman’s office know it was offering tenants buyouts, which is illegal as well, the AG said.
“In attempting to clear the building of tenants to make a conversion easier and more lucrative, these developers violated the law and stripped tenants of their rights,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
There was no immediate response from Newcastle.
The Evelyn was built in 1885. Back in 1885, rents were $80 to $150 a month, according to the Times. It’s not entirely clear which Evelyn the building is named after, but the Times surmises it was one of the developers’ daughters. In 2013, the developers attempted to add rooftop apartments to the building.